Unclaimed Assets: Money The Government Owes You!

Unclaimed Property Checklist


Companies and government agencies are holding hundreds of billions of dollars in lost, forgotten and missing assets: everything from uncashed checks and unclaimed retirement benefits to lost stocks and life insurance policies to abandoned bank accounts and safe deposit boxes. Have any of your assets slipped through the cracks?


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Unclaimed Bank Accounts
  • Insured accounts from closed banks and credit unions may be held by the FDIC or NCUA.

  • A wave of bank failures resulting in name changes and branch closings has resulted in millions of lost accounts nationwide.

credit union shares
minor child accounts
Christmas Club & layaway programs
insured accounts at failed institutions, including S&Ls
matured but unredeemed Certificates of Deposit
credit balances from loans
 
Lost Life Insurance
  • 25% of all life insurance polices go unpaid on death of the insured.

  • Often overlooked are union benefits that include group life insurance policies.

  • Many credit cards include insurance to pay off outstanding balances upon the cardholder's death.

policies on which you may have been named a beneficiary
credit card and mortgage payment policies
group life insurance policies
accident & health payments
loss of income payments
experience rating refunds
worker compensation benefits
Social Security & VA death & disability benefits
 
Income Tax Refunds
  • Most states do not include their own stale drafts and warrants in missing owner databases.
uncashed government checks and warrants
undelivered income and property tax refunds
undistributed property tax refunds
 
HUD Refunds
  • HUD had to be "specifically encouraged" by Congress to return hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments owed homeowners.

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium overpayments
Private mortgage insurance premium refunds
HUD Distributive Shares
 
Unclaimed Inheritances
  • In many instances beneficiaries don't know they're entitled to receive payments.

amounts due heirs from unknown or forgotten trust accounts
 
 
Lost Stock
  • The Securities & Exchange Commission estimates 3 million lost securities holders nationwide.

  • Failure to cash a dividend check, exchange stock after a merger, or the return of a statement or annual report by the post office as undeliverable, establishes abandonment.

misplaced certificates
uncashed interest and dividends
shares resulting from stock splits
matured or called but unredeemed bearer and registered bonds
unredeemed savings bonds and other government securities
unexchanged shares from mergers
stock and mutual fund shares arising from dividend reinvestment
 
Unrefunded Deposits & Credits
  • Each year hundreds of thousands fail to collect tens of millions of dollars in security and utility deposits (phone, cable television, water, sewer, and electric) after a move.

utilities
miscellaneous service providers
credit memos
rental companies
credit and debit cards
 
Uncollected Wages & Benefits
  • Back military pay may be subject to a statute of limitations, so prompt action is necessary.

  • Unclaimed final paychecks and severance benefits are a substantial source of unclaimed funds, especially among part-time workers and those who switch jobs frequently.

pension & profit sharing
severance
unused sick or vacation time
expense account reimbursements
employee savings & medical accounts
death benefits
unpaid wages
military pay and benefits
 
Gambling Proceeds
  • "Outs" - winning bets at the racetrack that go uncollected - total millions of dollars each year.

Winning pari-mutuel wagers
unredeemed casinos markers
funds left on account
 
Lost or Unredeemed Gift Cards
  • Each year $6-8 billion in gift cards go unused. By law most never expire, despite the fact many have "good until" or "must use by" verbiage printed on them.

restaurants
retail stores
miscellaneous service providers
credit memos
 
Retirement Funds
  • The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. insures over 55,000 private pensions covering 42 million workers.

  • OPM, the Office of Personnel Management, stores personnel records in a cave 268 below ground.

  • IRA's may be considered abandoned if withdrawals do not start by age 70.

undistributed proceeds from IRA & Keogh accounts
employee savings
profit sharing and medical savings accounts
terminated private pensions guaranteed by the PBGC
Civil Service / Federal Employment Retirement System benefits
Thrift Savings Plan accounts
Railroad Retirement Board
 
 
Police Property
  • You may be able to claim cash to offset losses from theft and burglary.

recovered but unclaimed property sold at auction
 
 
Employee Wages & Benefits
  • Often overlooked by departing employees are year-end bonuses and reimbursements.

credits for unused personal leave, sick and vacation time
undistributed profit sharing and bonus checks
expense account reimbursements
 
Bankruptcy Funds
  • Less than one-in-ten creditors entitled to collect distributions does so.

amounts held by courts due creditors
refundable court fees
 
 
Safe Deposit Box Contents
  • Box contents are often sold at auction, but owners or heirs can claim the funds received.

expired leases on bank and private boxes
 
 
Class Action Lawsuit Settlements
  • A huge source of unclaimed funds rarely claimed by those entitled - nearly everyone.

settlements to which you are entitled as a member of a prevailing class
 
 
Union Benefits
  • Unions, service and special interest clubs and groups often offer life insurance to members.

supplemental unemployment
death benefits
pensions
 
Credit Balances
  • Shoppers leave behind billions each year in unclaimed credit balances and unrefunded layaway deposits.

retail
utility
co-op shares
charge cards
 
Oil Gas & Mineral Royalties
  • Easily overlooked, especially by those who are due lease payments as a birthright, i.e. Native Americans.

amounts due from land leases and easements granted
 
 
Estate Proceeds
  • Unclaimed legacies from distant relatives are a huge source of abandoned funds.

undistributed proceeds from estate sales
undistributed assets owed heirs
 
Accounts at Hospital & Retirement Homes
  • Nursing homes and hospitals are frequently are left with money and property after the death of a patient.

credit balances on house accounts
proceeds from the sale of personal property
refunds on prepaid but unused services
 
Bail Bonds and Prisoner Funds
  • Earnings can reach a substantial sum after a long incarceration.

personal property
amounts held on account
unpaid earnings
 
Actor Residuals / Author Payments  / Artist Royalties
  • Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is holding money for thousands of performers whose residuals checks have gone unclaimed

Performing artist digital music royalties
Writers Guild Unclaimed Copyright Payments
Screen Actors Guild Unclaimed Royalty Payments
 
Unclaimed Child Support
  • 750 million annually in child support checks are undistributed & unclaimed, due to incorrect address information on the custodial parent.

Court-ordered child support payments
Veterans Aid & Attendance Special Pensions
Child is heir to an unknown inheritance
 
Pre-paid Service Refunds
  • Pre-paid but unused amounts on telephone and gift cards are one of the fastest growing types of abandoned property.

unused debit card balances
stored value cards
vending machine cards
pre-paid long distance telephone
 
Uncashed Checks
  • Uncashed travelers checks are generally not considered legally abandoned until 15 years after the date of issue.

  • The Social Security Administration has a "suspense file" of uncredited earnings and unpaid benefits totaling more than $250 billion!

payroll / travelers / cashiers
money orders
stock dividends
bond coupons
refunds and rebates
Social Security and Veteran's Administration benefits
foreign exchange drafts


unclaimed property

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